Category Archives: NASA Space Place

What Is the Ionosphere?

By Linda Hermans-Killiam
NASA JPL

High above Earth is a very active part of our upper atmosphere called the ionosphere. The ionosphere gets its name from ions—tiny charged particles that blow around in this layer of the atmosphere.

How did all those ions get there? They were made by energy from the Sun!

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Sixty Years of Observing Our Earth

By Teagan Wall
NASA JPL

Satellites are a part of our everyday life. We use global positioning system (GPS) satellites to help us find directions. Satellite television and telephones bring us entertainment, and they connect people all over the world. Weather satellites help us create forecasts, and if there’s a disaster—such as a hurricane or a large fire—they can help track what’s happening. Then, communication satellites can help us warn people in harm’s way.

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Cassini Says Goodbye

By Teagan Wall
NASA JPL

On September 15th, the Cassini spacecraft will have its final mission. It will dive into the planet Saturn, gathering information and sending it back to Earth for as long as possible. As it dives, it will burn up in the atmosphere, much like a meteor. Cassini’s original mission was supposed to last four years, but it has now been orbiting Saturn for more than 13 years!

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The Shape of the Solar System

By Marcus Woo
NASA JPL

 

When Stamatios (Tom) Krimigis was selected for the Voyager mission in 1971, he became the team’s youngest principal investigator of an instrument, responsible for the Low Energy Charged Particles (LECP) instrument. It would measure the ions coursing around and between the planets, as well as those beyond. Little did he know, though, that more than 40 years later, both Voyager 1 and 2 still would be speeding through space, continuing to literally reshape our view of the solar system.

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The Fizzy Seas of Titan

By Marcus Woo
NASA JPL

With clouds, rain, seas, lakes and a nitrogen-filled atmosphere, Saturn’s moon Titan appears to be one of the worlds most similar to Earth in the solar system. But it’s still alien; its seas and lakes are full not of water but liquid methane and ethane.

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